root look & feel

Casey Bralla KDE at
Fri Jun 21 17:40:08 BST 2002

> I don't intend to start a war, but someone needs to state the obvious:
> I always log in as a user, but most of what I do as the system
> administrator/programmer requires root privileges.  So no matter how
> hard I try to remain as a normal user, within 10 to 15 minutes I am
> forced to log in as root.  Much of what I do during the day requires
> that I do it as root.  Yes, I make mistakes.  Yes, I've deleted
> necessary files (/etc/password on one occasion, the entire web site for
> a client on another - rm -rf in the wrong directory).  Yes, I've caused
> myself major problems.  *But*, the next thing I *have* to do requires
> root privileges or it doesn't get done, and if I don't do it I lose a
> bunch of clients because I'm not providing the service they demand
> (been there,done that).

I too, until recently, always ran root.   My reasons weren't as good as 
yours; it was simply my preference.    I too, have also heard the 
admonition about running as root.   Therefore, I posted a query to 
several newsgroups stating my reasons for running as root, and asking for 
the fallacy of my reasoning to be explained.   i got about a half dozen 
replies which said 'cuz yer an idiot', a couple of dozen which listed the 
bad things that can happen if you run as root (which you & I already 
know), and 3 or 4 good reasons to not run as root.

The best reasons to not run as root that I got were:

1.  You learn more about Linux by running as a normal user.   You are 
forced to understand the difference in privileges, and since Linux was 
**designed** to be run as a user, you can "grok it in fullness" better by 
running as a user.

2.  You learn to appreciate what a typical user experiences when you run 
as a user.   This makes you more humble, and makes you a better system 

Because of this, I decided 2 weeks ago to run as a user.   So far, it 
hasn't been too bad.    You're not dancing with the devil if you run as 
root, but I think that running as a user is better in most (but **NOT 
ALL**) circumstances.

Casey Bralla
Chief Nerd in Residence
The NerdWorld Organisation
KDE at
This message is from the kde mailing list.
Account management:
More info:

More information about the kde mailing list